Campaign of the week
Here at MNHQ, we think it makes sense to use the not-inconsiderable might of the Mumsnet collective for the greater good. So as well as our own high-profile Better Miscarriage Care campaign and Let Girls be Girls campaigns, we've begun to exchange web links and public support with charities and pressure groups in areas Mumsnetters have indicated they care about, such as special needs provision, child poverty, childcare, parenting, breastfeeding, maternity care and relationship support. Occasionally, where an issue arises that most Mumsnetters want to do something about, we'll try to make a bigger splash. Find out more about Campaign of the Week here.
The Big Lunch - Sunday 2 June
On the first Sunday in June each year, millions of people turn off the TV and step outside to share fun, food and friendship with their neighbours, On Sunday 2 June join them.
The Big Lunch is a Lottery-funded initiative from the Eden Project encouraging UK neighbours, community groups and schools to have a Big Lunch annually, as a simple way to share community spirit. The aim is to build stronger, friendlier communities where we share more, from conversation and ideas to skills and resources.
You can order a FREE Big Lunch pack and try it locally – it could make your 2013 summer special too!
Z2K: Fighting Poverty
Being poor in London is no picnic. A family needs over £40,000 p.a to manage without benefits. Z2K provides essential support for those in difficulties with the benefit system.
Georgina, a fragile single mother victim of domestic violence, faces homelessness because her housing benefit, covering her rent in her council flat, is not being paid. No one tells her why and she is desperate.
Z2K becomes involved and discovers the council changed its computer system and dropped her account off its payment system but not off its collection records. Numerous phone calls and letters eventually restore the account and secure payment of the arrears just before the bailiffs are due to evict her.
Rays of Sunshine Children's Charity: Sunshine Breakfast Month
Having a healthy child is something most of us take for granted, but there are 20,000 children in the UK living with a serious or life limiting illness. Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity brightens up the lives these children and their families by granting wishes, organising activities within hospitals & hospices and hosting outings and events for large groups of seriously ill children, including the Rays of Sunshine Concert - which this year will take place at The Royal Albert Hall on 6th July.
This month you can bring sunshine into the lives of seriously ill children and their families by holding a breakfast. Just set the date and ask your friends and colleagues to join you for breakfast in return for donations. You can hold your Sunshine Breakfast anywhere. It’s really easy and tons of fun! Serve up a simple breakfast of orange juice and croissants or, why not try a yummy pancake recipe from Sunshine Breakfast ambassador Rochelle Humes. Download your breakfast pack below.
Watch this clip on the Rays of Sunshine charity, narrated by ambassador and magician Dynamo
Live Below the Line: take the challenge
Live Below the Line is a fundraising and awareness campaign which challenges people to live below the poverty line for 5 days - aiming to provide a glimpse into the lives of the 1.4 billion who live below the poverty line everyday.
The funds raised go towards development projects across the globe which aim to help those living below the poverty line to rise about it. The official challenge week is the 29th of April to the 3rd of May, but you can take part any time up until the 30th of June!
Join the challenge on the link below.
Children's Hospice Week
Imagine hearing that your child has a condition which means they might not reach adulthood. It can turn normal family life upside down.
Children’s hospices offer a crucial lifeline for families in this situation, offering care, support and much needed breaks. They focus on making every moment precious.
Costing around £7000 a day to run, children’s hospices rely overwhelmingly on the generosity of the public to continue.
That’s why Children’s Hospice Week, organised by the charity Together for Short Lives, is so important. It’s your chance to show your support.
Watch this video of Evan's story, supported by the Little Havens Hospice
National Literacy Trust: Mia's story
No child should grow up unable to read. Eight-year-old Mia’s parents are illiterate. There are no books at home or stories at bedtime. But the National Literacy Trust gave Mia the chance to attend their storytelling events and choose books of her own to keep. Mia has become the first reader in her family and will have opportunities her parents never had.
If you can read, you can succeed. Help us to give children like Mia a lifetime of opportunities. Our charity works with 38,000 disadvantaged children every year. We need your support to help more young people.
Watch our video of Mia's story, narrated by Mariella Frostrup
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)
Child Poverty Action Group is the leading national charity dedicated to ending child poverty in the UK. We speak out against the injustice of poverty and provide expert advice and training to those working on the frontline of family support.
The UK now has one in four children living in poverty – but that number is set to soar as living costs go up and spending cuts hit the poorest families hardest. Help us to ensure that every child has a fair chance in life to reach their full potential.
To donate £5 text CPAG12 £5 to 70070, or donate via the link below.
Sky Badgers: supporting disabled children & their families
Family life should be full of fun and adventure, especially if you have a disabled or life-limited child. Great opportunities are out there waiting for you, but often they’re impossible to find. This is where the charity Sky Badger comes to the rescue.
If your child needs extra support or you’re struggling to get a statement, if you want to know where your child can wheelchair water-ski or how to get money off your bills, visit Sky Badger today and start making life better. If you like what we do, please click through to the donate button to help keep Sky Badger growing.
Build Africa’s Water Campaign
Our work provides choice and opportunity to the school children of rural Africa. Without a permanent and reliable supply of clean water this would be impossible.
You can make a difference in the fight against drought, disease and the endless search for water by helping us supply boreholes and water tanks to our schools; by helping us pass on health and hygiene messages to the whole community.
As a mum and headmistress, Mrs Mutisya knows best: “Our pupils will succeed now that we can use our new water supply for drinking, for washing the classrooms, in the kitchen and toilets.”
Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC)
ARC is the only charity of its kind in the UK. For 25 years, we have provided non-directive information and specialised support to parents facing extremely difficult decisions about the future of their pregnancy and dealing with the aftermath of these decisions. We offer a national helpline; volunteer support network; a website; a range of publications for parents, their families and health professionals; and a moderated, password protected members-only forum.
ARC also supports and trains health professionals working in antenatal screening and diagnosis, helping them support parents during the decision making process and beyond.
Help flush away poverty by twinning a toilet at home, work or school with a loo overseas!
Toilet Twinning is a partnership between development agencies Cord and Tearfund, raising funds to help provide access to better sanitation, clean water and hygiene education. 2.5 billion people worldwide don’t have access to a safe, private and hygienic loo and three children die every minute from diarrhoeal diseases.
When you twin a toilet, you get a Toilet Twinning certificate to hang in your loo, showing a photo of the twin latrine with its exact GPS coordinates to help pinpoint the location online.
Prescription Charges Campaign
The Prescription Charges Coalition, an alliance of more than 20 charities and organisations, launches its Paying the Price report this week. This highlights how people with long-term conditions are compromising their health due to the cost of prescription medications. Many are also facing impossible decisions between paying for essential medicine to keep them well or feeding and supporting their families.
We are campaigning for all those with long-term conditions to be exempt from prescription charges, and need your help to make this happen.
Malaria No More
Malaria No More UK is working as fast as it can to end deaths from malaria – a disease that claims the life of a child every minute. The good news is that malaria is preventable and costs £1 to treat. You can help make malaria no more a reality in our lifetime. Please save lives now by: Asking the Government to fulfil its malaria commitments; donating to Malaria No More UK or by taking up the challenge to Live Below the Line by living on £1 a day for 5 days for all food and drink from 29 April.
For working mums, covering the cost of childcare is not easy when petrol prices make the cost of commuting so high. We want to help save families money by raising awareness of Liftshare.com.
The typical commuter who car-shares every day saves about £1,000 a year – often more. Lift-sharing is also great for families without a second car, as many drivers are happy to give lifts in exchange for a contribution to the journey costs.
Liftshare.com is the largest car-sharing network in the UK. The free website allows you to find others going your way, so you can travel together.
ActionAid UK: Ready For Anything Appeal
Over 300 million people are affected by disasters every year. The poorest and most vulnerable people are the hardest hit. Lives are at risk, communities are wiped out and families lose everything.
Now until 3 May the UK government will match donations to ActionAid's Ready for Anything appeal, pound for pound. For a little girl like Mukta your donation might be the difference between life and death. Mukta, 9, lives in one of the poorest parts of Bangladesh, one of the worst affected by flooding.
Text 'DOUB13 £10' to 70070 to give £10 or visit the link below to donate.
Watch Mukta's story in this video:
Oxfam's Get Together campaign
The majority of people living in poverty are women. The Oxfam Get Together for International Women’s Day is all about linking up with friends, colleagues and your local community to whatever you love to raise money for Oxfam’s work transforming the lives of women living in poverty worldwide. International Women’s Day is 8th March so there’s still time to plan your Get Together, whether it’s coffee or cocktails with friends or a bake-off at work, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as it raises money.
Pregnant women and new mothers are having a hard time in the recession. Increasing numbers of women are facing unfair treatment at work. Maternity benefits have been cut or means tested. Financial pressures within the NHS are impacting on frontline NHS maternity services. Planned changes to maternity, paternity and parental leave are good in principle, but could leave parents with weaker employment rights. The Valuing Maternity campaign, led by Maternity Action, is calling on the Government to champion pregnant women and new mothers, not make life more difficult.
Protect the future for your children and take part in Climate Week from 4-10 March. Culminating in a week of events and activities across the country, Climate Week celebrates the positive solutions to climate change, inspiring people to live and work more sustainably. Why not register to run a Climate Week Swap? Swapping books you no longer read, clothes you don't wear and toys the children don't play with are great ways to save money on useful items as well as saving precious resources. Or make a bigger change and switch your electricity and gas to a green, eco-energy supplier. Follow the link below for more information.
I CAN's Chatterbox Challenge
One million children in the UK struggle with speaking, listening and understanding. I CAN, the children's communication charity, is there to help families get the support their children need and train those working with children to know what a communication difficulty looks like and how they can help. I CAN's Chatterbox Challenge invites children under five in nurseries and groups across the UK to learn songs and rhymes to develop their communication skills, whilst raising vital funds for I CAN's work. Thanks to long-term supporter, Openreach and I CAN's partnership with Humf, from Nick Jr. I CAN will reach more children and families.
Safer Internet Day
Safer Internet Day is the perfect opportunity for families to think about being safer online. This year, we are encouraging all internet users to 'connect with respect'– to think about what their online rights and responsibilities are. For parents, this is about having conversations with your children to make sure they are being good digital citizens.
For lots of advice about keeping you and your family safe online, and to take the new Connect with Respect IQ test, which tests knowledge of being safe, responsible and respectful on social networks, online entertainment sites, gaming sites and mobiles - click below.
The Dimensions Family Focus Campaign celebrates the families of people with learning disabilities and autism. It also seeks to reassure families that good support enables their loved ones to have greater independence.
At Dimensions, a leading not-for-profit-organisation supporting people with learning disabilities and autism, we believe people we support should not be side-lined from making their own decisions. The support each person receives is instrumental to their quality of life and regular family involvement can be extremely beneficial.
As part of this campaign, Dimensions is sharing stories about how families are involved with personalised support and urging people to share their experiences of family support.
Alcohol Concern is nearing the end of its first ever Dry January challenge and it's been amazingly successful. Thousands of people have gone dry with us and it's been great to see so many people talking about alcohol and thinking about their drinking. Through social media we've built a really supportive online community with people cheering each other on and sharing their experiences.
Many people are saying Dry January is making them think about changing their drinking habits for good, which is brilliant. Get in touch with Alcohol Concern for more information about alcohol and next year's plans on the link below.
The Healthy Air Campaign
Air pollution causes 29,000 premature deaths each year in the UK – it doesn't have to be this way.
Children are more vulnerable to the health effects of air pollution and we want parents to support the Healthy Air Campaign to help protect them. Read the thoughts and ideas of Clare Nasir, and other parents, who worry about the effect of illegal levels of air pollution on their children, and find out how to reduce your family's exposure.
We are working so that more people can protect themselves, and support government action for the UK to meet legal standards.
The Children's Society - Gemma's World and the Fair and Square Campaign
Gemma is one of the 1.2 million children who don't receive a free school meal despite living in poverty. You can step into Gemma's World by playing our online game and see how important our Fair and Square campaign is to children like Gemma. Lift the lid on the daily challenges she faces at school, home and the High Street.
The Children's Society Fair and Square campaign aims to ensure that all children in need of a free school meal receive one. Free school meals are a crucial entitlement for families living in poverty.
Women's Aid - Save Survivors' Services
Women's Aid is the national domestic violence charity that helps up to 250,000 women and children every year. Through our member network of refuge and support services, Survivors Forum and theNational Domestic Violence helpline (which we provide in partnership with Refuge), we are often the first place women turn when seeking to leave an abusive relationship. Through our campaigns we continue to raise awareness of domestic violence and act as a voice for vulnerable women and children in lobbying government to protect their rights and safety in the face of funding cuts and proposed welfare reform.
Edge is dedicated to raising the statusof technical, practical and vocational learning. We believe that “learning by doing” should be valued equally with academic learning and that all learners should experience a mix of both. There are many paths to success, which is why we've launched Six Steps for Change calling on the Government to make changes to the education and training system.
Taken together the Six Steps will ensure all young people, whatever their different abilities and interests, really do leave the system with confidence, ambition and the skills to succeed – and the skills the economy and country needs.
There are 2 million single parents in the UK, raising 3 million children. More than half are in work, and most of the rest tell us they want to be. But barriers like unaffordable and unavailable childcare, inflexible hours and a lack of training opportunities are standing in the way of single parents getting, keeping and progressing in jobs that match their skills and meet their families' needs. It doesn't have to be like this. Join Gingerbread's campaign to Make it work for single parents, and let's fight for changes that will bring benefits for families of all sizes.
Pregnancy for many mums-to-be is a time of excitement, joy and anticipation. However, it is a tragic fact that not every pregnancy ends happily. Despite medical advances, 17 babies are stillborn or die soon after birth every single day in the UK, shattering the lives of expectant parents, their families and friends.
Our range of support services include: helpline, online forum, UK-network of 100 local Sands support groups, booklets and website. Sands funds research to reduce the loss of babies' lives and work with all UK governments to ensure that the right policies are in place to prevent babies' deaths.
Every year, 3000 babies die before their first birthday and one in 30 children are born with a disability or condition which will affect them for life. As the leading provider of children's medical research, Sparks aims to change the future for countless babies, children and mums-to-be through dedicated and ground breaking research.
You too can help give hope to these children and their families. By simply adding a little extra sparkle to your Christmas party, you can help Sparks fund more medical research and support the thousands of babies who aren't born healthy.
Hope and Homes for Children
Little Alexei was found abandoned in the entrance to a building in Moldova. He was just five weeks old. All that came with him was a heart-breaking note from his mother.
The authorities placed Alexei in an institution and every day he spends there is damaging him.
Alexei's story is all too common. One child under-seven is abandoned every day in Moldova, often by desperate mothers facing impossible of decisions.
It doesn't have to be like this.
Hope and Homes for Children is working with vulnerable families in Moldova so they no longer feel they have to give up their children.
Watch this video:
bibic- Letter to Santa
Make Christmas magical for someone special in your life, by ordering them a letter from Santa. Even better, every letter purchased will be used by children's charity bibic to give a disabled child and their family life-changing support. Christmas is a magical time, but the magic and wonder isn't limited to Santa's workshop. Every day at bibic, a little bit of magic happens as families are empowered with skills and strategies to help their child reach their potential. By making a donation of £5 for your letter from Santa, you can give a disabled child the best Christmas present ever!
The GREAT Initiative
Gender equality is not just a women's issue. It is widely acknowledged that achieving gender equality at every level is a vital step to ending poverty. GREAT works to empower and enable individual women who have the experience, understanding and know-how to make the most impact in their communities. GREAT has teamed up with Boodles to produce a bangle of which 100% of profits will go to GREAT.
Look Good...Feel Better
Is a cancer support charity that helps women manage the visible side effects of cancer treatment. The aim is to help increase women's self confidence at a very difficult time in their lives. Our free skincare and make-up workshop programmes run across 65 hospitals nationwide, hosted by volunteer beauty consultants. Look Good...Feel Better and Harvey Nichols have created the ‘Theatre of Beauty' evening events to run nationwide across Harvey Nichols stores during November. 100% of the ticket proceeds from the event will got to Look Good, Feel Better
Kids in Museums
Want to spend a great day out with dinosaurs, Egyptian mummies or some Andy Warhols? Kids in Museums gives a powerful voice to family visitors throughout Britain – working with museums to make sure they welcome families and children, in particular those that have never visited before. We publish the Kids in Museums Manifesto – 20 ways to make a visit family friendly – compiled entirely from visitors comments. We want to hear your views. Perhaps it's the welcome at the door? Or that you're allowed to touch the stuffed leopard? Or there's great family activities? let us know so every museum visit is great for all families.
STEM4 targets early identification of commonly occurring mental health issues in young people. We teach teenagers, parents and school staff how to recognise the early signs of Eating Disorders, Self-Harm, Depression and Addiction. Our comprehensive website, aimed at teenagers, their parents, friends and schools, provides practical information about these illnesses, how to spot early signs and guidance on what to do. Our interactive school workshops raise awareness, encourage detection strategies, champion motivation and enhance cohesive working between young people, their families and school. Our aim is to stem the development of full-blown disorders by increasing resilience and providing positive coping skills.
Keep Hospitals Cooking
With more than 30 million hospital meals left uneaten in England each year, and many patients relying on their families to bring them food, we say enough is enough. It's time for the Government to introduce mandatory standards for hospital food.
We're campaigning for a range of hospital food standards, including kitchen standards to enable hospitals to cook fresh patient meals from scratch. Despite being better quality and popular with patients, only four in ten patient meals are made this way.
To see more freshly cooked patient meals in our hospitals, please take action today to Keep Hospitals Cooking.
Children with Children
Sihiba is a mother living in remote Tanzania. It's a daily struggle for her to find food and clothes for herself and her baby, and she has no support from the father of her child. What makes things even more difficult for Sihiba is that she is only 13 years old.
Sadly, Sihiba's story is not uncommon in her village. However, there is one thing that sets Sihiba apart.
To help raise awareness of the plight of young girls like Sihiba, African health charity AMREF who works with the Sihiba's community to provide sexual health education and information, has given Sihiba the chance to share her story. Developed by leading advertising agency BBH, the unique Children with Children campaign allows Sihiba to provide live updates from her life, through the use of a camera phone where she can take pictures and upload them directly to her Pinterest page. Help Sihiba share her story:
The Rochdale scandal and other abuse cases show that too many girls are not safe in their homes, schools and communities. A staggering one in three young women say they experience 'groping' or other unwanted touching at school. Issues like female genital mutilation are too often swept under the carpet. Mumsnet's own 'We Believe You' campaign shone a light on prejudicial attitudes which mean that women are often not believed and abusers are let off the hook.
But violence is NOT inevitable. Ask your school what action it is taking on girls' safety and tackling attitudes.
Having a child run away from home is pretty much every parent's nightmare. Sadly, it's much more common than people think; every five minutes, a child runs away in the UK.
Almost half (47%) of parents surveyed by charity Railway Children have never discussed the subject of running away from home with their children; a fifth stated that it had not even occurred to them to raise it.
We've teamed up with Railway Children to help parents who are grappling with this issue talk to their children before it's too late.
Click here to find out more - for every interaction, Aviva will donate £2 to Railway Children.
St Mungo's – Rebuilding Shattered Lives
Each year St Mungo's helps hundreds of homeless women rebuild their lives.
One client is Lucy. She said: "I became homeless after health problems and a marriage breakdown caused by financial pressures during the recession. It's hard for anyone without a home but I know from experience that being a homeless woman can leave you feeling vulnerable, afraid and not knowing where to turn."
Lucy has now moved into her own flat, has completed a degree and is developing her business.
Please support St Mungo's new campaign – Rebuilding Shattered Lives.
Time to Change
The new film Stand Up Kid, is part of a wider pilot project to encourage young people in the West Midlands to tackle the taboo around mental health. It aims to inspire young people, particularly those who have no understanding of mental health problems, to change their attitudes towards others who are affected.
Time to Change research shows that nine out of 10 young people who have mental health problems in the West Midlands are affected by stigma and have experienced negative treatment as a result of their mental illness.
To find out more go to www.time-to-change.org.uk/youngpeople.
PEAS's Back To School Appeal
Over half of Uganda's population is under 15 but three in four secondary school age children aren't in education. Time is running out to give a whole generation a positive future.
PEAS's Back To School Appeal aims to change the lives of over 16,000 children in Uganda by ensuring they get a quality secondary education.
Every £1 you donate will be doubled by the UK Government from 14 September until 13 December. Just £31.25, doubled by the Government to £62.50, is enough to change the life of a child in a PEAS school.
Visit peas.org.uk or text 'PEAS01 £5' to 70070.
There are over 45,000 deaf children in the UK, most of whom go to mainstream schools. While many deaf children enjoy school and do well, too many suffer from isolation and are left out of activities and conversations.
NDCS's Fingerspellathon introduces primary school children to sign language and deafness in a fun, interactive way. It also raises vital funds to help NDCS continue its work providing vital support to deaf children and their families.
You can help by asking your child's school to sign up to the challenge at www.ndcs.org.uk/fingerspell.
The Scout Association: Expect more from young people
'What do you expect?' produced by the Cell Productions for Charity The Scout Association, turns preconceptions on their heads as it follows a group of young people for a day. Since it's launch in June it has had 45,000 hits on YouTube. The film has inspired debate across the globe with regards to The Association's presentation of modern Scouting.
Last year The Association commissioned a report to measure the impact on UK Scouting. It found that Scouting can help people to make a real and long-lasting commitment to their communities and develop a range of valuable skills through adventurous activities.
Find out more about Scouting.
Watch the video:
Teenage Cancer Awareness Week, 1 to 7 October
Cancer in young people is rare with around 2,500 new cases each year, but it's vitally important it's caught early if it does occur.
The five most common signs of cancer in young people aged 13 to 24 are unexplained and persistent:
Pain (that doesn't go away with painkillers)
A lump, bump or swelling
Significant weight loss
Changes in a mole
Teenage Cancer Trust empowers young people to be the experts of their own bodies and speak up when something changes.
Recommend a FREE presentation to your teenager's school at www.teenagecancertrust.org.
Extradition is an important part of prosecuting crime and ensuring justice for victims. However it must also be fair for potential defendants. Sadly for many years the UK's extradition laws have undermined centuries-old fair trial protections and led to many cases of injustice.
Liberty is calling for reform of our unfair extradition laws. We believe that no one should be extradited for something that isn't a crime here in the UK, or without a basic case first being made out against them in a UK court. Also if a significant part of the alleged crime took place in the UK, then Liberty believes a British court should be able to decide if it is in the interests of justice to extradite.
Starfish Greathearts Foundation
Starfish Greathearts Foundation aims to bring life, hope and opportunity to children in South Africa who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.
- Supporting 25,000 children in a country with 2,000,000 AIDS orphans
- 450 children orphaned each day (equal to 2 UK primary schools)
- But we are making an impact supporting 51 frontline organisations in 67 communities
Give a child a brighter future and support Starfish, this is how:
Get fit and run the Breakfast Run on Sunday 23rd September. A fun morning run with kid's activities and Nando's picnic. Read more.
Hold a Dinners of Hope – an easy way to make a difference. Hold a tea party and ask friends to donate to Starfish. Read more.
Congenital heart problems are the most common birth defect affecting 1 in every 130 babies. Despite this only a third are picked up before birth during scans. Many children's conditions currently go undetected for weeks and sometimes many months, causing stress for parents and children as well as having possibly disastrous consequences. The Think HEART campaign hopes to boost early diagnosis by providing parents with five easy-to-remember signs of a possible heart condition, so they can spot them early and make sure the GP or medical professional are aware.
Heart rate (too fast or too slow – normally 100 to 160 beats per min)
Energy (too tired to feed and falling asleep during feeds)
Appearance (pale, dusky, blue or grey colour)
Respiration (breathing too fast or slow – normally 40-60 breaths per min)
Temperature (cold to touch at hands and feet)
If you would like more information about the campaign, to hear the story of a parent whose daughter was undiagnosed for 18 months or you would like to help the campaign in your local area please visit: www.chfed.org.uk/thinkheart.
Can you imagine being unable to determine your own future? Every day millions of women and girls are unable to choose whether, when and how many children they have because they lack access to modern contraceptives. This lack of access to voluntary family planning directly impacts the health and survival of girls and women and on broader development outcomes for their children and families.
On Wednesday, July 11, global leaders and civil society will convene for The London Summit on Family Planning, a groundbreaking event with the aim of enabling 120 million additional women in the world's poorest countries to have access to contraceptives, information and services by 2020.
Give Ugandan mothers the choice to keep their babies
In Uganda, poverty, rape and HIV/AIDS lead to vulnerable young mothers having to make a choice between giving their baby up to an orphanage, or keeping them knowing without any support, they will watch their baby die.
Child's i Foundation believes that all children have the right to a family. They work with vulnerable families to give them the choice to keep and provide for their children.
Their rescue centre provides life saving care. Their social workers work closely with families to ensure children are placed in families, not orphanages, in Uganda.
Their supporters make this possible. Join them, and give love, give time or give money. Follow them on Twitter, chat to them on Facebook and help them make families, not orphans.
The Answer Is Plain
Sadly, tobacco causes a quarter of all cancer deaths in the UK, and 157,000 children aged 11-15 start smoking each year – that's enough to fill 5,200 classrooms. With this in mind, Cancer Research UK is campaigning to make it that much easier for the next generation not to start smoking in the first place. They need just two minutes of your time to make this happen – please add your name to the 30,000 others on their petition.
The Government is currently considering removing all branding from cigarette packs, standardising their appearance and reducing their appeal. This would mean that all packs, from all tobacco brands, would look the same. The shocking video below shows why this is an opportunity we can't afford to miss.
Whilst 'plain packs' won't stop everyone from smoking, research shows that they would give millions of children one less reason to start. 'The answer is plain' campaign is therefore not about pointing the finger at current smokers, it's about smokers and non-smokers coming together to protect children from tobacco marketing.
But this won't happen unless you make it happen. The Government want to see public support for this measure, and there's less than a month left to show it. Please take two minutes to sign their petition.
The film's message is "look what we can do" if we "expect more". Find out more.
The Play 20: Playtime Anytime campaign aims to provide parents, carers, and grandparents with hundreds of ideas to help get busy grown-ups and children playing together.
The campaign is led by the play experts at Eureka! The National Children's Museum to help celebrate 20 years of play at Eureka! in West Yorkshire.
Play really can save the day, and the ideas at the Play 20 website show that it needn't depend on owning the latest expensive gadgets or must-have toys – a cardboard box and a bit of imagination will do just as well!
It is through play that children develop emotionally, physically, and intellectually. While simply playing children are exploring their world, taking risks, making mistakes, developing creative thinking, learning to express themselves and building relationships with each other and the adults who play along side them. Find out more here.
Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and young people in the UK. Shockingly, it takes on average three times longer to diagnose a brain tumour in the UK than in many other countries.
The HeadSmart: be brain tumour aware campaign aims to help parents recognise the signs and symptoms of brain tumours and to educate healthcare professionals. Earlier diagnosis can reduce long term disabilities that often occur due to the tumour or the treatment required, and will ultimately save lives.
The campaign is led by Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust, the UK's largest brain tumour charity, in partnership with the Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre at the University of Nottingham.
Visit www.headsmart.org.uk for more information and to request a free symptoms card; you can also see a video made by a mother whose child is affected here.
Victim Support - Don't Suffer Twice Campaign
Victim Support is a national charity which helps 1 million people a year. Its trained staff and volunteers give free and confidential information, support and practical help to anyone affected by crime, whether or not it has been reported and regardless of when it happened.
New sweeping changes to how victims and witnesses are supported, proposed by the Government, could mean less help for people when they really need it. Without proper support this could make victims suffer twice – once with the crime and again when society turns its back on them.
Victim Support is calling on people to help persuade the Government to change its mind by signing its online petition.
You can find more information about what the changes could mean for anyone who is a victim or witness of crime, and a link to the petition, on Victim Support's website.
Be a hero and support Children's Hospice Week!
18-25 May 2012
Hearing that your child has a condition which means they might not reach adulthood can turn normal family life upside down.Children's Hospices are often a crucial lifeline for families in this situation, offering care, support and much needed breaks.
It costs around £7000 a day to run a children's hospice. They rely overwhelmingly on the generosity of the public to continue to offer their vital services.
Children's Hospice Week is a special superhero themed week, organised by the charity Together for Short Lives, celebrating the amazing care provided by children's hospices across the UK, and helping raise money for them.
The week culminates with Superhero Friday on 25 May – be a hero and get your family and friends to dress up as their favourite superhero to raise money for your local children's hospice.
There are lots of events going on across the country. Visit www.childrenshospiceweek.org.uk to get involved.
C4EM: Coalition For Equal Marriage
The Coalition for Equal Marriage was set up in response to a much-publicised campaign opposing the government's plans to move toward greater equality for LGBT couples. Some fundamentalist Christian groups have expressed the opinion that gay marriage would be a 'grotesque subversion' and 'cultural vandalism', and are circulating a petition against the idea.
If you support the right of LGBT folk to get married, visit C4EM's site to have a look at the petition, respond to the government's consultation, and email your MP.
Because I am a Girl campaign
For 75 years, Plan has been working with children in the world's poorest countries to help them build a better future. Millions of girls in the developing world are denied the choice to get an education, pursue a career or choose if, who and when they marry and have children.
Plan's 'Because I am a Girl' campaign aims to support four million girls to stay in education and fulfil their potential - because, with education and the right support, girls can transform their lives and the world around them. If you've got a moment, have a look at their video to see the difference education can make.
· One in three girls globally is denied a secondary education.
· Every 3 seconds a girls is coaxed, coerced or forced into marriage.
· Pregnancy and childbirth is the leading cause of death for girls in the developing world.
You can join the Plan to support girls to get the education, support and choices they need to move themselves from a life of poverty to a future with opportunity. Do donate now if possible, or sign Plan's petition.
Get cooking with 5by25
According to the 5by25 campaign, almost 60% of young people leave home without the ability to cook a simple dish like a Spag Bol. If teaching your children to cook the basics is one of those 'must do (argh - soon!)' jobs that always gets pushed to one side, it's worth having a look at 5by25's site.
They want to make sure that all young people have mastered at least five basic recipes, from shopping-basket to table, by the time they're 25. They've got some great ideas for building children's confidence in the kitchen, and helping them understand the importance of quality food ingredients, from an early age - whether it's encouraging them to decorate a cupcake or helping them rustle up a juicy burger. You might even tempt them to enter the Master the Dish challenge...
Volunteering with Do-it
Do-it is the UK's first and most extensive volunteering website, run by charity YouthNet, providing a centralised system for volunteers to find opportunities to give their time helping local organisations and communities. The service has become the digital volunteering infrastructure in England, hosting up to one million opportunities to volunteer, searchable by postcode, plus articles and advice on finding the perfect role. Do-it enables people to volunteer however it suits them, helping people engage with communities by ensuring voluntary work is quick and easy to find. Find out more.
The current trend of club drugs and legal highs amongst our young people is frightening. Last year alone there were 49 new substances: they are often a combination of Class B drugs and chemicals like paint stripper, plant food, bath salts and fish food and can cause severe psychosis, suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety and panic attacks, flashbacks, heavy nosebleeds, difficulty breathing and, sometimes, loss of bladder control. The Angelus Foundation is demanding that the Government puts effective drug education on the National Curriculum to keep our children safe from harm. Go here to sign and share the petition. For further information visit the Angelus Foundation website.
WWF's Earth Hour
WWF's Earth Hour is a simple idea that's quickly turned into a global phenomenon. Hundreds of millions of people turning off their lights for one hour, on the same night, all across the planet.
But it's not to save an hour's electricity. It's something much bigger. WWF's Earth Hour is about people coming together to put the focus on this brilliant world we all share – and how we need to protect it. Not just for an hour a year, but every day.
To take part simply sign up now at Wwf.org.uk/earthhour and switch off your lights on 31st March at 8.30pm.
Find us on Facebook and Twitter. Plus, check out our Earth Hour celebrity chef menus, full of tasty food which is good for you, and the planet.
Get Involved in Parent Councils
When parents are involved in their child's education and in the life of their child's school children do better. Around 75% of parents say they want to be more involved. Those schools which are good at working in genuine partnership with their parents reap the benefits and often see a transformation in school culture and in home school relationships.
It is vitally important that schools respond to the real needs of their children and parents. Parent councils offer a way for you to have a voice and contribute to important school decision making.
Get involved and make a difference to your child's school! Visit Parent Councils UK to find out more about parent councils or come to an event to discuss how you could set one up in your school.
Start the day loving your food
An estimated one million tonnes of breakfast food - worth almost £2 billion – is thrown away every year – a waste of food and resources which has huge environmental implications. With 49% of adults saying they struggle to get through the day without breakfast, Love Food Hate Waste has lots of great ideas to help you make the most of your food at breakfast time. Why not try keeping your bacon in the freezer with a piece of greaseproof paper between each slice? You can then use a slice at a time and cook from frozen.
Click here for more great breakfast ideas and recipes.
What does equality look like? March 8 is International Women's Day, and again this year Mumsnet is proud to be a member of the EQUALS coalition, which aims to get people talking about equality between men and women, in the UK and worldwide. We live in a world where one in three women will experience violence at some point in their lives, where women hold only 19% of the world's parliamentary seats, and where only about 24% of the people in mainstream broadcast and print news are female. Women perform 66% of the world's work, produce 50% of the world's food, earn 10% of world's income and own 1% of the world's property.
Head over to the EQUALS site to have a look at some of their 'debate starter' videos, download their Facebook app, and find events and film screenings near you.
Oxfam's 'Get Together' campaign
There are 1.3 billion people living in poverty worldwide, and more than two-thirds of them are women and girls. That's why Oxfam puts women's rights at the heart of everything it does. For International Women's Day Oxfam is asking UK women to hold Get Together events on or around 8 March to raise money for Oxfam, and support women around the world. Lauren Laverne, Miquita Oliver and Jane Sheperdson are among the women who will be holding Get Together events, which can be anything from a dinner party or car boot sale to a quiz night or tea party. Find out more about the campaign.
When parents suffer tragedy and hardship, their young children can suffer for a lifetime. That's because a child's experience in their first five years will dramatically shape the rest of their life. Home-Start is the only charity to go into homes nationwide to take the strain off families – often their only lifeline - before their situation becomes a crisis. Home-Start helps families cope so that they can provide the love and laughter their children need to flourish. For their today and their tomorrow, childhood must start now.
That's why Mumsnet is getting behind the Childhood Starts Now campaign to raise profile and funds so Home-Start can continue its vital work supporting more than 77,000 children and 36,000 families every year. Find out more: www.reachthechild.org.uk
CEOP and Safer Internet Day
It was Safer Internet Day on Tuesday 7 February, and to mark the occasion CEOP launched 'The Parents' and Carers' Guide to the Internet' – a light-hearted and realistic look at what it takes to be a good online parent.
With interviews from experts including Prof. Tanya Byron and Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, industry players like Facebook and Club Penguin and, most importantly, children themselves, this TV-style show aims to answer the trickiest of questions about family online safety.
In addition to this the CEOP team also launched a short 50's style trailer which aims to get parents and carers thinking about their children's online lives and a new website with comprehensive information and advice for parents and carers, further information is available from: www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents
Chatterbox Challenge 2012
The children's communication charity I CAN is inviting children across the nation to get chattering in its annual educational event for nurseries, pre-schools, childminding and community groups for children aged 0-5.
The Challenge is full of great activities to make learning communication skills simple and fun. This year they're asking people to organise a Chatterbox Challenge event around the theme 'Kids in Motion' to raise funds for children who struggle with communication. 1.2 million children in the UK have long-term difficulties with speech, language and communication, and need extra support in crucial areas like reading, learning in school, socialising and making friends, and understanding and expressing emotions and feelings. Visit the website to download a free activity pack.
Babies are more likely to suffer abuse and eight times more likely to be killed than other children. That's why the NSPCC is running the 'All babies count' campaign to prevent the abuse and neglect of babies.
If vulnerable parents are supported to care for their babies, it hugely reduces the risk of neglect and abuse. The NSPCC is delivering a number of innovative programmes that offer support, and provides a free helpline for anyone worried about a baby or other child. But we can't keep babies safe on our own. So we're calling on everyone – the public, professionals and governments – to ensure that all babies count.
By visiting nspcc.org.uk/allbabiescount and signing our petition, you can back our call on governments across the UK to ensure the right support is in place for all babies. You can also find information about how the NSPCC supports babies and parents, including our new free booklet for new parents.
If you are worried about a baby or any child today, even if it's just a doubt, contact the NSPCC Helpline 0808 800 5000 / email@example.com / text 88858.
(If you are texting from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, the free 88858 number is currently not available, text special number 07786 200001 – texts will be charged at your standard network rate).
Fruitful Schools is a really simple idea: to help children plant fruit trees in nurseries, primary schools, parks, open spaces and gardens. We'd like all children to grow up with access to fruit trees, and to enjoy the experience of picking and eating fresh fruit.
Schools are now very receptive to the idea of getting kids outdoors to learn. School orchards are a good fit with a range of curriculum criteria, and also fit beautifully with the school year: plant in winter, enjoy the blossom in spring, and harvest just as the schools go back in the autumn. Fruit trees are also low-maintenance.
Fruit tree-planting season is upon is right now, and continues to the end of March. Fruitful Schools supply orchard planting packs and advice on planting and care, so have a look at their website or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Voice never turns away a vulnerable child in need. They're a national charity committed to empowering children and young people in care by providing information, advice and advocacy.
Voice runs a national free-phone helpline, and provides advocates who will go out, meet the child and ensure their situation is resolved.
They also provide specialist advocacy for children with disabilities, with mental health issues and for refugee children. They assist homeless young people, and help those who are negotiating the process of leaving care to live independently - as well as campaigning for changes in law, policy and practice to improve the lives of all children in care.
Royal College of Midwives' calls for 5000 more midwives
More babies were born in England in 2010 than in any year since 1972, whilst births to women aged over 30 were at their highest since 1946. The NHS is desperately short of midwives, and the shortage affects every region. The Royal College of Midwives is calling for urgent action from the Government, including a target to recruit the equivalent of 5000 more full-time midwives.
The RCM have organised a petition asking the Government to recruit those extra midwives into the NHS. They need 100,000 signatures, so if you have half a minute, do sign it - and badger your friends and family to do so too.
The Starlight Christmas of Happiness
At least 20,000 children will spend time in hospitals and hospices in the UK over Christmas. This year Starlight Children's Foundation hopes to bring magical wishes and festive entertainment to these children and their families.
Two of the children that will benefit from your support of The Starlight Christmas of Happiness are identical twin sisters Megan and Gracie. Diagnosed with leukaemia just days apart in 2009, they know how miserable it is to be poorly at Christmas.
Their mum Emma says, “Both girls had to have chemotherapy at home on Christmas day, which was heartbreaking; their father was being Father Christmas one minute and then giving them chemo the next.”
This Christmas, Starlight will take the twins to visit Santa in Lapland – a magical once-in-a-lifetime wish. With their family, they will enjoy sledging, reindeer sleigh rides and a meeting with Santa himself!
To help Starlight grant the Christmas wishes of children like Megan and Gracie, donate £3 by texting WISH to 70123. For more information, do visit the Christmas of Happiness site.
"It doesn't matter to me if you're an African woman or an English woman, I'm a woman and you're a woman and I will be by your side until your baby is born."
- Sam Perkins, MSF midwife
MSF Delivers is a campaign by emergency medical aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières MSF (Doctors Without Borders), following the life and work of MSF midwife, Sam Perkins, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The campaign aims to highlight the life-saving work MSF's medical teams do in more than sixty countries around the world and to raise vital funds so that this work may continue.
Click here to see Sam's story.
[Main photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba]
mothers2mothers: helping mothers, saving babies
Every day, 1,000 babies in Africa are born with HIV, compared with only one a day in Europe and the US. Without treatment, half of all children living with HIV will die before age two. There is global consensus that mother-to-child transmission of HIV can be virtually eliminated by 2015.
mothers2mothers is working to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV with a simple and effective model: they educate, employ and empower mothers living with HIV to keep themselves and their children healthy. Mentor Mothers - women living with HIV - work alongside doctors and nurses to offer critical information and support to other women. One mother supporting another mother.
No baby should be born with HIV – and no mother should be powerless to protect her health and the lives of her children. You can help mothers2mothers eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV in lots of ways - for starters, you can watch their lovely video below.
Or you can...
- Join their virtual baby shower campaign
- Set up a mothers4mothers2mothers group
- Learn more and donate at www.m2m.org
- Read Annie Lennox's blog post supporting mothers2mothers
And do follow @m2mtweets on Twitter, and connect with them on Facebook.
Help Raise Awareness of Children's Rights with ChildHope on Universal Children's Day
“There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring… that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.” – Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General
ChildHope's Universal Children's Day Campaign is asking you to spread the word on a very important issue: ensuring that girls and boys everywhere have the opportunity to enjoy a safe and secure childhood. We all want the best for our children and we similarly hope that other children in the world have the same chances. Unfortunately, many children do not.
ChildHope works with those children who do not. Children who are living on the streets or in slums, who are orphaned or alone, and who face poverty, violence and exploitation. ChildHope's experience demonstrates that it does not have to be this way, and with projects throughout Africa, Asia and South America, we are working to ensure all children enjoy a life free from injustice and abuse.
Please take a moment and mark Universal Children's Day by taking their Quiz to test your knowledge of the issues facing millions of children worldwide.
ChildHope's site has more information about the important work that they do transforming children's lives. There are many ways that you can make a difference, so do consider supporting their important work!
Get ready for Beatbullying's Big March 2012!
Sit down and be counted! Join Beatbullying for the world's first virtual, global protest against bullying - the Big March - and call on the UN to enshrine explicitly in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child the right of all children to be safe from bullying, violence and the fear of violence.
Beatbullying's Big March 2012 is the world's first virtual, global march for children's right to be safe. Tens of thousands of virtual marchers will cross the websites of the world's biggest brands. They will speak with one voice, and call on the UN to enshrine explicitly in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, "The right of every child to be safe from bullying, violence and the fear of violence by their peers as well as from abuse by adults." Register now at the Beatbullying Big March site.
Take on homophobic language in anti-bullying week
Recent YouGov polling for Stonewall showed that homophobic bullying in Britain's primary and secondary schools is almost endemic. And it isn't only gay young people who are affected. Homophobic bullying and language can be directed towards any pupil, simply for being perceived as 'different'. Teachers say that boys who are academic, girls who play sports, young people with gay parents, friends or family members, and young people merely perceived to be gay, experience homophobic bullying.
Schools have a duty to respond to all forms of bullying, but nine in ten teachers and non-teaching staff at secondary and primary schools have never received any specific training on how to tackle it.
Through the School Champions programme Stonewall works with schools to create a safe environment for all pupils. Ask your child's school what they are doing this Anti-Bullying Week and let them know about Stonewall's resources and the School Champions programme.
- Find out more about how to get involved during anti-bullying week
The Mayor's Fund: A Flying Start for London
A worrying 20% of London's children are currently leaving primary schools without the required standard in English and Maths. The National Literacy Trust has shown that poor literacy can lead to higher chances of unemployment, living in overcrowded housing, family breakdown and antisocial behaviour.
Since 2009, The Mayor's Fund for London has transformed the lives of 8,000 children. The fund is a non-political charity with the Mayor as patron, and it uses evidence-based programmes to raise aspirations, and improve the life chances of London's disadvantaged children.
Now they're fundraising for a new flagship numeracy and literacy programme, Flying Start for London, which launches this autumn and will operate in seven of London's poorest boroughs. It will combine parenting programmes with the best literacy and numeracy interventions in schools and children's centres - with the aim of embedding an enduring taste for learning and development in young children.
Currently, 630,000 children live in poverty in London – shockingly, that's four in 10 children. But with your help, all our children can be given the skills they need to get a decent job, and break out of poverty.
Communication disorder is the most common disability seen in childhood, affecting up to 10% of children. The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists' Giving Voice campaign aims to promote better understanding of the unique and vital role of speech and language therapists (SLTs). Every day, SLTs work with a huge variety of people, from young children who stammer to older people recovering from stroke and other brain injuries. They aim to help give them a 'voice' by improving their communication abilities and addressing their swallowing, eating and drinking difficulties. With severe funding constraints across the public sector, these essential services are under threat.
Breakthrough Breast Cancer fund ground-breaking research, campaign for better services and treatments and raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Nearly 48,000 women and 300 men are diagnosed every year and nearly 1,000 women die from breast cancer every month - but the good news is that more women than ever in the UK are surviving breast cancer thanks to better awareness, better treatments and better screening.
This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Breakthrough is asking people to take just 5 simple steps to help them beat the disease for good:
Go Pink! Breakthrough Breast Cancer are working to stop the fear of breast cancer. Help them by signing up to Go Pink
TLC! Don't forget to Touch Look Check. Download Breakthrough Breast Cancer's app from ibreastcheck.com
Shop! Help Breakthrough beat breast cancer by visiting their shop - or support their life-saving work by donating what you can.
Bid! Breakthrough Breast Cancer have teamed up with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to raise £250,000 to be split equally between the two charities. Scoot over here to bid on some amazing prizes, ranging from a luxury holiday in the Bahamas to the exclusive use of Woodhall Manor with overnight accommodation for 25 guests.
Ooh look, a sneak preview of Mencap & Digital Giving's revolutionary new take on spelling! It's called Spellathon, and it's a free global spelling game set in a futuristic digital universe. AND it features 'The Professor', a 3D bee character voiced by <drumroll> Stephen Fry!
It's fun, highly visual and can be played anywhere, by anyone - entrants can even compete LIVE against Stephen Fry in the 'Reverse Spellathon Challenge!' Children (and adults) can ask friends & family to sponsor them to improve their spelling, raising money for learning disability charity Mencap, and their own school. It's not officially unveiled till 1st November, but you can register here now to be part of the buzz. Good luck!
CO Angels are campaigning to get 10 million audible carbon monoxide alarms into homes across the UK by 2020. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that can come from all fuel burning appliances: gas cookers and boilers, fires and chimneys. The three women behind CO Angels have all lost loved ones to carbon monoxide poisoning, and are now trying to warn others of the dangers.
There are 45,000 deaf children in the UK, yet most parents of deaf children have no previous experience of deafness, making expert help, support and information invaluable. This is where the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) comes in. Supporting deaf children and their families from diagnosis to adulthood, NDCS offers expert, impartial, emotional support and information to families and the teachers, doctors and services who work with them.
Each year NDCS runs its Fingerspellathon challenge in UK schools for children to learn how to communicate in sign language through fingerspelling, get sponsored and raise vital funds for NDCS. It's an active, fun way to introduce children to deafness and can support your child's spelling. October is Fingerspellathon month and the challenge starts this week - ask your child's teacher to sign up here.
The Variety Club is dedicated to improving the lives of unwell, disabled or disadvantaged children and young people by raising funds for specialist minibuses, wheelchairs, sports equipment, hospital wards, and all sorts of other practical solutions that enable individuals, projects and organisations across the UK to give a wider range of opportunities to the children in their care.
Sunshine Week and Day is a brand new curriculum-linked fundraising initiative aimed at children aged between five and 13. Schools that sign up are able to download everything they need to take part, including activities and lesson plans enabling them to learn more about the cause. The week culminates in a national Sunshine Day "call to action", when the participating schools can put on a fundraising event of their choice.
Here's a brilliant excuse to put the kettle on, raise a cuppa for a good cause, and support our Armed Forces. The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association - Forces Help has launched its annual Big Brew Up campaign, and they're asking Mumsnetters to organise tea parties to raise vital funds for the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.
SSAFA Forces Help assists more than 50,000 people every year, from World War Two veterans to young soldiers injured in Afghanistan - anyone who has served for just one day is eligible for help when they need it.
Last year's campaign raised over £100,000, and a Big Brew Up was held in nearly every British military base - from Camp Bastion to Catterick - along with thousands of businesses and homes across the UK.
The Big Brew Up will take place this year from 3rd - 9th October, and all money raised will be put to good use to support serving and ex-service men and women. SSAFA Forces Help also focuses particular attention on families, providing assisted housing for families of injured service personnel at our Norton Homes, support groups, a confidential support line and also though our national network of branches in the UK and on military bases.
Find more info on how to host a Big Brew Up here - or call 020 7463 9310, or email email@example.com
Bullying in schools can be a devastating experience for children, and unsurprisingly it's a topic which comes up again and again on Mumsnet. As well as wondering how best to help their own children deal with bullying, Mumsnetters frequently express concern that their children's schools are not taking robust steps to prevent bullying, or dealing with it effectively when it does occur.
So 5 charities - Mencap, ChildLine, the Diana Award, Show Racism The Red Card, and EACH (challenging homophobia) - have come together to urge schools to sign up to the new Bullying Intervention Group (BIG) award scheme. The BIG scheme offers training and resources to schools and services, and the award is a consistent way of judging how well schools are doing in the battle against bullying - especially important during a period when new types of schools are being introduced, and local council services for children are being cut back.
The coalition wants you to help to get the word out. So, if you're worried about bullying in schools, and want to make sure that it stays at the top of the agenda, do tell your child's school about the BIG Award, and urge them to sign up.
The Go Folic! Campaign has one key message – women need to take folic acid BEFORE they become pregnant.
It's been launched by ASBAH (the Association for Spina bifida and Hydrocephalus) to help spread the word that women should ideally start taking folic acid (Vitamin B9) 3 months before conception, to help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine (neural tube defects) which can develop in the first 28 days of pregnancy.
Every day in the UK, at least two of the babies conceived will go on to develop neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Up to 70% of these could be prevented if women took folic acid at the right time and dosage. Have a look at the poignant message about the campaign from the mother of Hattie, a lovely young girl who has spina bifida, above.
Unfortunately, a healthy balanced diet is not enough for a healthy pregnancy - 400mcg of folic acid is recommended for most women. Folic Acid tablets are available from chemists, supermarkets and health shops - and many multivitamin formulas also contain 400mcg of folic acid, so do check the labels. A higher dose of 5mg is prescribed for those with a family history of neural tube defects or certain medical conditions, including diabetes.
The Go Folic! site has lots more information, and you can also sign up there for their free newsletter. There's a quirky video to share here - and do help them spread the word by liking the Go Folic! Facebook Page, and following the campaign on Twitter.
Help raise awareness of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder with Pregnant Pause
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is believed to affect about 1 per cent of live births. It refers to a spectrum of birth defects associated with the use of alcohol during pregnancy. Pregnant Pause is a charity that aims to raise awareness of FASD, and to remind pregnant women that they are advised to abstain from alcohol throughout their pregnancies.
Pregnant Pause is organising a national event at Euston Station on at 9.09am on September 9, during which hundreds of members of the public (men and women) will pose as pregnant women to raise awareness of FASD. If you'd like to join this event (or organise one of your own), have a look at the NOFAS-UK website.
Refuge's 1in4Women campaign
One in four women experience domestic violence at some point in their life.
This means that women close to you - sisters, daughters, friends or neighbours - could be at real risk. But it's a sad reality that only 16% of domestic violence is reported to the police, so most abused women suffer in silence - too scared or embarrassed to tell even their closest friends.
The 1in4women campaign, launched last week by the national domestic violence charity Refuge, and Avon, the company for women, is asking you to find out more about the signs of domestic violence - so you are empowered to support a friend who might be suffering in silence now, or in the future. The campaign includes a new Facebook app which you can use to find out how many of your friends may be experiencing abuse - do have a look, the results may surprise you.
It's not easy to know what to do when a loved one is suffering in silence, but there are things you can do to support them. The 1in4women.com microsite provides a wealth of information on how to spot the warning signs of domestic violence, and practical tips on how to support a friend or loved one who may be experiencing domestic violence.
So do visit www.1in4women.com and download the app to spread the campaign far and wide. Together we can put an end to domestic violence, by educating ourselves, and by speaking out.
Change The Story is a Railway Children campaign designed to help children living on the streets in the UK. Every year, an estimated 100,000 British children under the age of 16 run away or are forced to leave homes in which they suffer poverty, violence, abuse or neglect.
They find themselves living on the streets because there is nowhere else to go and no one left to turn to - and the problems they face there are often even worse than those they endured at home.
Railway Children want to make a difference for these children, by raising awareness of the issues and encouraging change. It's a movement for every child who has nowhere to turn and needs support.
Do sign their petition, and help persuade the government to commit more resources for these vulnerable children, ensuring they have somewhere and someone to run to, where they're not at risk.
DEC's Party Bag for Life East Africa crisis appeal
The worst drought in over half a century has hit parts of East Africa, affecting more than 10 million people. If you're going to be throwing a party for your child over the summer, how about donating the money you would have spent on party bags to the DEC appeal, and give cake and a thank you sticker instead? You can also donate at any high street bank or post office, by calling 0370 60 60 900 (24 hours), or by texting the word CRISIS to 70000 to donate £5.